Relationships are very important in developing and maintaining effective marketing strategies. Due to the emphasis on relationships, there is increasing recognition that positive evaluations of business salespeople by their customers should be an important component of salespeople's evaluation process and compensation programs. For example, 40% of the incentives of IBM's salesforce are based on customer ratings. This study explores the relationship between customers' evaluation of both business salespeople and the selling organization, and the relationship between managers' and customers' evaluations of salespeople. The results of a survey from business customers in the health care industry suggest that buying firms that give higher evaluations to business salespeople also give higher performance ratings to the selling organization. Also, salespeople who are evaluated as being better and more credible by customers also receive superior evaluations from their managers. Theoretical and managerial implications of the results are presented.
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